What Is the Soul?

What Is the Soul?Questions I received on the soul and its relationship with the body:

Question: You insist that the soul is inside one’s heart. Then how do you explain the fact that people can live after a heart transplant?

My Answer: I think you are confusing me with someone else. I never said anything like this. The soul is not located in the human body at all. It is the property of love and bestowal that a person attains.

Question: What is the soul for you?

My Answer: The soul is the property of love and bestowal – the property of the Creator. It is written, “The soul is a part of the Creator from above,” and the Creator is the desire to love and bestow. And that’s all!

Question: When does the soul incarnate into the human body: during conception or during birth?

My Answer: The soul isn’t connected to any bodily processes in any way, and it doesn’t incarnate into anything. It comes to a person when he attains the property of bestowal.

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By Developing One’s Desires, Kabbalah Also Develops One’s Mind

By Developing One\'s Desires, Kabbalah Also Develops One\'s MindQuestions I received on studying, defining the spiritual goal, one’s desires, and one’s mind:

Question: What should I study every day?

My Answer: Study the same things we do, together with us.

Question: Should I study only Kabbalah, or are there other books worth studying as well?

My Answer: You should study only what we study. If you are a beginner, then you should study the first and third parts of our daily lesson together with us, but instead of the second part of the lesson (Talmud Eser Sefirot), you can study the materials for beginners on our website.

Question: Do we have to fight our lustful desires in the corporeal world, or should we just study Kabbalah without fighting these desires?

My Answer: Only the study of Kabbalah evokes the Light of correction – Ohr Makif. You will not become more corrected by fighting your desires or restricting yourself in some way. Don’t focus on your properties, but instead strive toward the Creator.

Question: I am somewhat confused about the spiritual goal. Is the goal for me to be happy, or for me to bestow, or to be like the Upper One, or is it to love my neighbor? Or, according to what you said in the latest lessons, is the goal for me to become master of my freedom of choice, or combine the paradox between the place of the Creator and the place of the creation? What is the goal?

My Answer: There is one goal, and it combines everything – all the opposites: The entire Light enters the entire Kli, filling it completely. This state already exists; we must only reveal it for ourselves. It’s similar to a child’s puzzle: There is an image printed on a piece of cardboard, then it’s cut up into small pieces and the child has to put it together. This is how the child learns to connect all the different parts into one whole – and we will have to do the same thing with all the elements of creation.

Question: Is the ego (my will to receive), my mind that observes the reality?

My Answer: That is absolutely correct. Inside your desire, you perceive yourself, the world, and your existence. The mind is produced by the egoistic desires, or derived from them. The mind comes into being and grows to degree that one aspires to fulfill one’s desires. The more desires one has, and the larger these desires are, the greater is the mind that accompanies them. Hence, since Kabbalah develops one’s desires, it also prompts the development of the mind (the brain).

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Time – Illusion or Reality?

Time - Illusion or Reality?Question: You said that time doesn’t exist. Then do the past and future exist?

My Answer: What exists is a sequence of events. They take place in us as sequential revelations, the realization of Reshimot. As they sequentially follow one another, they create the sensation of time – of the past and the future. However, this is a subjective sensation that’s inside us, and it takes place quickly or slowly depending on one’s efforts.

It is impossible to skip over anything, because all the Reshimot have to manifest one after another. When a Reshimo is realized, it depicts inside us a picture of our relationship with the Creator. This picture is called “the world,” and it consists of “me” and “what surrounds me.” To the degree that the Reshimot become realized, one begins perceiving one’s surroundings as part of him.

Question: Sometimes the clock shows that five hours have gone by, but I feel like it’s only been five seconds. Who should I trust, myself or the clock?

My Answer: Obviously, you should trust the clock. Next time the same five hours may seem like five days to you.

Question: When a person with psychic abilities predicts the future, what does he see – the future or the present?

My Answer: For him it’s the present.

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Attaining the Worlds Beyond

I had a conversation that was recorded called “Kabbalists Write.” We discussed my fourth book, Attaining the Worlds Beyond. I spoke with Ben-Tzion Gertz, a writer and an editor of several of my books in Hebrew.

Immediately after my teacher’s passing (September 1991), I had to go to Toronto to visit my dying father. I wrote this book after I returned, following the death of my father (February 1992). I think that more than any other of my books, it conveys the feelings of a person who is beginning the path of Kabbalah, one’s impressions from encountering the world of Kabbalah. This is exactly how I saw this book – the first of a series of books that I would write.

Here is an introductory chapter from the book Attaining the Worlds Beyond:

“The need for this text became apparent to me from the questions that I received from my students, and from the questions that were asked during various lectures and radio programs, as well as from the letters that continue to flood in from all over the world.

The difficulty of explaining and teaching Kabbalah lies in the fact that the spiritual world has no counterpart in our world. Even if the object of our studies becomes clear, our understanding of it is only temporary. What we learn is grasped by the spiritual component of our ability to understand, which is constantly renewed from Above. Thus, a subject we initially understand may appear unclear at a later date. Depending on our mood and our spiritual state, the text can appear as either full of deep meaning, or entirely meaningless.

Do not despair if what was so clear yesterday becomes very confusing today. Do not give up if the text appears to be vague, strange, or illogical. Kabbalah is not studied for the sake of acquiring theoretical knowledge, but to help us see and perceive what is hidden from us. When, after we have contemplated and acquired spiritual strength, we begin to see and perceive, then our ability to attain the resulting spiritual lights and levels will bring us to true knowledge.

Until we can comprehend the Upper Light and can perceive what it presents to us, we will not understand how the universe is built and how it works, since there are no analogies to these concepts in our own world.

This text can help ease our first steps toward perceiving the spiritual forces. At later stages, we will be able to progress only with the help of a teacher.

This text should not be read in an ordinary fashion. Rather, we should concentrate on a paragraph, think about it, and attempt to understand examples that reflect in the issues discussed. We may then try to apply these issues to our own personal experiences.

We should patiently and repeatedly read and think about each sentence as we try to penetrate the author’s feelings. We should also read slowly, trying to extract the nuances of what is written, and if need be, return to the beginning of each sentence.

This method can either help us delve into the material with our own feelings, or recognize that our feelings are lacking regarding a particular issue. If the latter is the case, it is a crucial prerequisite for us to move forward spiritually.

This text is not written for quick reading. Though it deals with one subject only, ‘How to relate to the Creator,’ it deals with it in different ways. This allows each of us to find the particular phrase or word that will transport us into the depths of the text.

Although the desires and actions of egoism are described in the third person, until we can separate our personal consciousness from our desires, we should consider the aspirations and desires of egoism our own. The word “body” in the text does not relate to the physical self, but to ‘egoism,’ our desire to receive.

To get the most out of this material, I recommend reading the same passages at different times and in different states of mind. By doing so, you can better acquaint yourself with your reactions and attitudes towards the same text on different occasions.

Disagreeing with the material is always positive, as is agreeing with it. The most important aspect of reading the text is your response to it. A feeling of disagreement indicates you have reached the preliminary stage (achoraim, the backside) of understanding, which prepares you for the next stage of perception (panim, face).

It is precisely through this slow meaningful manner of reading that you can develop feelings, or ‘vessels’ (kelim). These are necessary for us to receive spiritual sensations. Once the vessels are in place, the Upper Light will be able to enter them. Prior to their formation, the Light merely exists around you, surrounding your soul, although you cannot perceive it.

This text is not written to enhance your knowledge. Nor is it meant to be memorized. In fact, we must never test ourselves on the material.

It is even better if we forget the contents altogether, so that the second reading will seem fresh and entirely unfamiliar. By forgetting the material, it implies that we have grasped the previous sensations and that they have now subsided, leaving a space to be filled by sensations we have yet to experience. The process of developing new sensory organs is constantly renewed and accumulated in the spiritual, unperceived sphere of our souls.

The most important aspect of our reading is the way we feel about the material while reading it, not afterwards. Once we experience these feelings, they become revealed within the heart and mind, and manifest themselves when they are needed in the continuous process of the soul’s development.

Rather than rushing to complete reading the text, it is recommended to concentrate on the sections that appeal to us the most. Only then will the text be able to help and guide us in our search for personal spiritual ascent. The goal of this text is to help us become interested in the mysteries of life, such as:

Why were we born into this world? Can we enter the spiritual worlds from here? Can we ever understand the purpose of the creation? Is it possible to perceive the Creator, eternity and immortality? How can we begin to grow spiritually?”

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Building the Third Temple

Building the Third TempleA question I received: I heard that plans to build the Third Temple are underway, and that there are even Kohanim and Levites being prepared to perform services there. Where can I find out more about how to be admitted to perform services, and when will the construction begin?

My Answer: I think that before we rush to build the Temple, we should first take care of our unfounded hatred of each other, as this was the reason for the fall of the Second Temple. We have to correct this hatred to the level of unconditional love for everyone – love without receiving anything in return. Then we will become the Kli or vessel for the revelation of the Creator. He will become revealed in it according to the principle of equivalence of form – “He is merciful and you are merciful; He forgives and you forgive.” As soon as He becomes revealed to us, we will become “wise of heart” – attain the spiritual level of Bezalel, the builder of the Temple. Then, based on our spiritual attainment of the Temple, we will be able to build the Temple on the material level as well. This is the meaning of the verse which says that the Third Temple will descend from above.

However, if we only try to build it on the material level, without correcting ourselves, then we are like children who are playing without knowing what the game is. It’s good to do this, but only when we know what is really important – to live by the law of the Temple, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s because the Temple is the gathering or unification of all the souls into one soul, and it was destroyed because people fell from “love thy neighbor as thyself” to “unfounded hatred.” It’s unfounded because it doesn’t have a reason (such as someone hurting you); it comes from envy and the desire to rule over others.

If you want to prepare for working in the Temple, then study Kabbalah and correct yourself to the level of the Temple. Then you will discover that the Temple already exists in your spiritual attainment – Matzav Gimel, the third state. (See the “Introduction to the Book of Zohar.”)

It’s written than the Third Temple will be better than the first two, because the Light of Chaya in the First Temple and the Light of Neshama in the Second Temple are smaller than the Light of Yechida of the Third Temple. It’s because the Third Temple will incorporate all the souls of all the people in the world, whereas the First Temple incorporated only the souls of Israel, and the Second Temple – only two tribes out of 12 tribes of Israel. This is why the Light of the Second Temple was lower than the Light of the First Temple.

It’s written about the Third Temple: “My house will be called the house of prayer for all the nations of the world” (Beiti – Beit Tfila Ikare Le Kol HaAmim). By disseminating Kabbalah throughout the whole world, we will attain the union of all people in love, in the single soul of Adam.

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